During 1872 in Germany, Albert Schoenhut fashioned a toy piano for his landlord's daughter. Word of the beautiful little instrument spread, requests poured in, and the Schoenhut Piano Company came into being. Albert later emigrated to the United States and expanded the business to include dolls, circus figures, toys, and other musical instruments. Albert's vintage toys have stood the test of time. They are avidly sought by collectors and can be found on exhibit at prestigious museums throughout the world.
Over the years, the Schoenhut factory has been located in various cities throughout the United States. In 1994, Frank Trinca of Rochester NY purchased the company and re-introduced a number of the early 1900's styles and models. As the business began to grow, Frank encouraged his brother Len to become involved. Len and his wife Renee of St. Augustine, Florida, aware of Schoenhut®'s prestigious reputation and Frank's progress with the company, jumped at the chance. After traveling back and forth for five years between Rochester and St. Augustine, they moved the entire contents of the factory (including a number of employees) from NY to a newly renovated facility at 6480 US 1 North in St. Augustine.
Schoenhut pianos are not simply small replicas of real pianos. They are authentic musical instruments that emit rich chime-like tones, making the sound unique. Each piano is chromatically tuned, educating the ear of a beginning musician. In addition, the spacing between keys is the same as that on a full-sized piano, teaching proper finger placement. The "tried and true" models (1-1/2 to 3 octaves) are still produced, i.e., a wide range from My First Piano for very wee folk right up through to Baby Grands for more advanced players. New designs and colors are also offered each year. Of great excitement in the world of toy pianos is Schoenhut's new 44-key, 4-octave baby grand. This model is based on a prototype found in the Schoenhut archives from decades past.